binding child support agreements

Should you and your ex make a Binding Child Support Agreement?

Binding Child Support Agreements are agreements about the payment of Child Support from one parent to the other to support children.  Much like an assessment for Child Support from the Child Support Agency, there can be an agreement between the parents for the payment of periodic child support, but there are also provisions for non-periodic payments to cover things like, school uniforms and fees, mortgage payments, or health benefits.

The option for non-periodic payments is not a good option for those who are concerned that the paying parent will not pay, as the Child Support Agency will not collect or follow up on the non-payment of non-periodic payments.

There are two kinds of Child Support Agreements: Limited Agreements and BindingChild Support Agreements.

Limited agreements are simpler and do not require the provision and certification of Legal Advice.  The Agreements also have an automatic option to end them after three years, and a ‘notional assessment’ by the Child Support Agency may trigger the agreement to end sooner than three years.

All Child Support Agreements contain the above mentioned ‘notional assessment’.  This is an assessment made by the Child Support Agency of the amount of child support that would be due if the Child Support Agreement was not in place.

In terms of a limited agreement, if this notional assessment changes significantly, the Limited Agreement would come to an end.  Things that might affect the notional assessment are things like, care arrangements or the financial position of the paying parent. These types of events will not affect a Binding Child Support Agreement.

In order for a Child Support Agreement to be Binding, both parents need to get independent legal advice and each of their lawyers needs to sign a certificate stating that he/she gave that parent legal advice about the Agreement. A Binding Child Support Agreement does not automatically terminate after any period of time – unless written into the Agreement.  In addition, no changes in circumstances will affect the payment of Child Support under the Agreement, unless provided for in the Agreement.  A Binding Child Support Agreement can be set aside in ‘exceptional circumstances’ that will cause the applicant or child to suffer hardship.

Binding/Limited Child Support Agreements can completely replace an assessment by the Child Support Agency for the provision of periodic payments.  However, they can also operate alongside an assessment from the Child Support Agency. This means, the Child Support Agency can make an assessment for periodic payments, and your Child Support Agreement can provide for an additional non-periodic payment.  You can also agree to non-periodic payments that occur regularly that reduce the amount of your periodic payments.  With Binding Agreements, parties aren’t as limited as they are with an assessment from the Child Support Agency.

If you and your co-parent are thinking about entering into a Binding or Limited Child Support Agreement, Cornerstone Law Offices can help.  We can draft the document or give you advice on one that has been drafted by the other parent’s lawyer. For further information and legal advice about your family law matter contact Cornerstone Law Offices. At Cornerstone Law Offices, our lawyers will provide you with qualified advice so that you can make informed decisions and move on with your lives.

For more information on how we can help you, contact Cornerstone Law Offices on:

Phone: 1300 267 637

info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au